25 October 2009

Need mental toughness

Just wasn't mentally switched on to run the Nike 10k yesterday. Hence, I bagged another DNF in my running CV.

Work has been busy & stressful for the whole week, so it zapped a lot of of my brain energy and focus. At the start of the race, I wasn't feeling that flashy anyway since this is my 3rd race in 20 days (after 3k and 21k). Again, to make sure I got good starting position among the 10,000 runners, I waited at the start line for a good 40 minutes and probably lost all of the warm up benefit. Ran pretty consistent splits for the first few ks and passed the 5k mark in 19:36. So I was still on track for a small PB. However, for some reasons, I then got switched off mentally, lost concentration, and went wayward. Before I knew it, I passed the next 2ks at 4:10 and 4:20 pace. At this juncture, I began to have side stitch and I realized around 41mins was the best I could hope for - which is slower than my 10k split during the half marathon a couple of weeks ago. Felt very de-motivated and I decided to quit at 7k, walked and cheered other runners. Maybe I just didn't care about the race enough.

I used to like 10k a lot, but now I think it is the hardest event for me to PB. For HM and marathon, you are more or less forgiven even if the pace slows down by 20secs for 1-2k since you have chance later on (later kms) to recoup. For 5k or below, the race is very short, you don't need to concentrate for a long time and you'll finish the race before your brain starts to play tricks. 10k for me is very tough, even after running had for 5k, you still have 50% of race distance to go. And once, your pace drifted downwards at km 6-8, mentally it's hard to tell yourself that you can recoup the time lost.

Six weeks to go before the SCSM Half Marathon. Let's hope this one won't turn out as another DNF.

18 October 2009

Very light week

Most likely I won't be running Seoul next March. For my next marathon, I really wanna have a good attempt at sub-3, rather than training specificaly and aiming for something like 3:02-3:03. Since Seoul is 5 months away, I think sub 3 will be a big stretch. In addition, Seoul is gonna be really cold (it was <0 in 2007) around that time.

Quite keen to run Gold Coast again in July. Weather is typically pretty good, 10c and calm. Good organization with pacing group led by Mona or Pat Carroll. Also we can combine with a family trip again to my wife's place in Melbourne. Don't mind running Perth if the timing is right.

This leaves a good 8 months to train. Not sure what Sean has in mind to fill that period. It could be base building or even focusing on shorter distances to increase overall speed. Will have an in-depth discussion after Singapore Half Marathon on Dec 6.

Training wise, this week is very light with three rest days to recover from last week HM. 51k total, mostly easy runs.

Next week will run the Nike Human Race 10k. No expectation on finishing time as my training was geared towards last week's HM. Have not been doing intervals for a month, as training in recent weeks mainly consisted of HM pace and lots of easy running.

Oh ya, I am 38 years old today. Hopefully I will be wiser and faster!

11 October 2009

Under-performance (again)

Did the Melbourne Half Marathon 2009 today in 87:05.

A small PB - feeling slightly more disappointed than happy.

I failed to take advantage of a fine, calm Melbourne day (which is rare), a flat course, and a good field (164 runners finished ahead of moi)

Was hoping to run 85-86 - which I thought was doable given the conditions. Coach thinks that I had a good chance for 86:20 and asked me to go out at 4:05 pace. In the end, I averaged 4:05 according to Garmin. But as usual, Garmin always overshoot race distance, it measured 21.3 on a certified HM course. Actualy, the km markers were a bit disapointing for such a big run as some of them (especialy the so-called halfway point) were inaccurately placed. For future races, perhaps I should take into account GPS' typical 100-200m over-estimation (worth 20-40secs for my speed) into my pacing plan.

As mentioned previously, I pulled a hammy during last week's 3000m. Went to a physio (reputed to be the best sports physio in SG), but very disappointed with the visit. He used a deodorant roll-on to massage voltaren to my hammy which I could do by myself. He simply told me to rest and that was it. What a rip-off! Give me tennis ball and foam roller anytime!

On Friday, I did a 50mins run in Melbourne and the hammy was ok. Hence, I was in confident mood going into today's race. However, I aggravated the problem in a funny circumstance. With about 15mins before the start, I was still queueing at the port-a-loo. I (with a few other runners) decided to go to the Botanical Garden across the road from start point and ran hard up the hill to find a bush to pee. I pulled the hammy again during the uphill run and I knew that it wouldn't be an easy day.

In light of this, I ran very cautiously all the way to avoid the hammy blewing up. I didn't take any drink until the 13k mark because I didn't want to take a risk of stopping and resuming the run with pulled hamstring. In the second half, the hammy just got tighter and I also faded due to tiredness. Even in the last 1k, I didn't make any attempt to sprint pass people as I didn't want to risk sprinting on the slippery grass field inside MCG.

Average HR was 169 bpm - which I think is a bit on the low side. (my marathon HR from Gold Coast ws 165)

As expected, I had positive splits due to the tight hammy and fade. 5k splits: 20:10, 20:26, 20:36, 20:44 + 5:07, 10k splits 40:36, 41:20. Official Result: 87:05, Position 164, gender position 147, age group position 36

4:04/156, 3:59/166, 4:00/169, 4:03/167, 4:04/169, 4:06/168, 4:03/168, 4:05/169, 4:06/169, 4:06/168, 4:06/169, 4:05/169, 4:13/170, 4:06/171, 4:06/171, 4:10/171, 4:09/171, 4:03/171, 4:11/172, 4:11/175, 4:05/175, 1:02/179 (300m)

In the end, I managed a small PB for the Half Marathon. On the posive side, this is the first time in 3 years that I managed to get 2 PBs in one year.

Slightly disappointed as I felt that lack of self-belief is my weakness. I think I probably should have pushed the boundaries a bit today. McMillan predicts a 3:03:40 marathon based on today's timing, so I am still far from sub 3-hour shape.

Anyway, what's done is done.

Commiseration to Rob who pulled out at 12k due to injury. We had a few beers afterwards at the Young & Jacksons, and the yak pale ale was nice!

04 October 2009

Good one-two punches, now hamstrung !

Last week, I wrote that I was feeling like a boxer on the ropes. With the final bell about to ring (HM next week), I went out in a counter attacking mode and had a couple of punches (workouts):

1)10k at HM pace. I really don’t know what my HM pace is, so I decided to run at my usual tempo pace between 4:00-4:10 pace (last week did 9k averaging 4:06, so I think that range is reasonable.). Finished the run in 40:40, av 4:04 min/km. Splits: 4:02, 4:04, 4:03, 4:06, 4:04, 4:05, 4:04, 4:09, 4:07, 3:53. Average HR was 169 bpm with a high of 179.

Talking about race simulation, my 10k at HM pace as the last workout before the race is pale in comparison with Dathan Ritzehein. He is preparing for the World Half Champs next week and ran a 10 mile race pace run in training, unofficially breaking the American record. A 16k training run at 21k race pace, that’s what I call WOW.


2)3000m track race. This is my first ever 3000m race and my lack of experiences showed in terms of pacing. Splits: 40, 84, 86, 88, 90, 90, 90, 81 = 10:51. In terms of per km, the split was 3:31, 3:44, 3:36 (av HR 178, high 188), crossing the 2400m in 8:45 (Singaporeans are always interested in 2.4k timing 'cos it's a fitness test for national service!). Managed to win the race, finishing ahead of runners from India, Srilanka, Thailand, and Malaysia. The event is the annual Singapore Masters T&F Championship. Note that the race wasn’t very competitive. Firstly, there was no prize other than trophy. Secondly, Singaporeans are hard working and people in my age group are busy doing their mid-life crisis, couch potato, baby bonus, hard-cash professional lives. Thirdly, Singapore does not have a running heritage (current fastest marathoner is under 2:40).

Quite surprised to see the finish time (av 3:37 pace) since I never ran faster than 3:50 min/km during intervals. I believe I could have run even faster given 1) bad pacing; 2) uncompetitive race and I was running alone after the first lap; 3) the race was delayed for 1 hour and I had to do four warm ups in different times since I didn’t know when the race would start; 4) I pulled a hammy about midway; 5) my HR only peaked at 188 (I usually hit 190+ during intervals); and 6) no 3k pace work other than 100m strides.

McMillan puts me at 1:27:27 (4:09 pace) for the HM based on today’s 3k. Jack Daniels is more generous at VDOT of around 53.5. This projects 1:26:20 HM (4:06 pace). Another reference point is this week’s 10k run at 4:04 pace based on Garmin. My lingering concern is that my long run and easy runs paces which are very easy at 5:00-6:00 min/km. Any ideas?

The biggest concern is the pulled hamstring from today’s 3k race. It felt really bad when I finished the race. I don’t know how serious it is, probably until the time I wake up and run tomorrow. Let’s hope I have enough reserve to do one final punch next week.

Update: Just received feedback from Coach. He said I could have run 10secs faster (10:40s) in the 3000m if I started slower and ran consistent 85-86 laps. Also, he suggests to go out at 4:05 pace for the HM (86s), but warns not to run with injury.